Roma (2018)
December 7, 2018 10:04 AM - Subscribe

Alfonso Cuarón recaptures moments from his childhood in this largely autobiographical film about a middle class family in early 1970s Mexico City, as seen though the eyes of the live-in housekeeper who raises the children, Cleo.

Well worth seeing in theaters if you can - beautiful B&W cinematography, immersive sound design that carries the narrative and packs emotional punch, and because these kinds of filmgoing experiences are rapidly disappearing.
posted by lowest east side (19 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
fermin es un mugroso.
posted by brujita at 12:43 PM on December 8, 2018 [3 favorites]

Wow what a movie. There opening shot alone with the water and the tiles is worth the price of admission. It had an elegiac tone that's still sitting with me.
posted by Carillon at 11:41 AM on December 15, 2018 [6 favorites]

posted by k8t at 9:34 PM on December 15, 2018

Reminded me of Tarkovsky. Stunning, stunning film. Cuarón is a true master. Love that he was the DP too!
posted by saul wright at 8:39 PM on December 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

Loved it. It reminded me of Fanny & Alexander.
posted by growabrain at 11:50 PM on December 16, 2018

Watched it on Netflix the other day and am seeing it on a big screen tonight, wonderful stuff. That opening shot! A nice little snippet of an interview from The Hollywood Reporter's Roundtable, on casting and the difficulty of shooting the beach scene here.
posted by Coaticass at 8:05 PM on December 17, 2018

The Mexican history behind the movie Roma, discussion from Time Magazine.
posted by Coaticass at 9:06 PM on December 17, 2018

It took me a while to understand the overabundance of dogshit. (I'm still working on the planes.)
I already look forward to when I'll be going to see it again. (Soon - and definitely in a cinema.)
posted by progosk at 2:26 PM on December 18, 2018

AMLO's decision to open the former president's residence to the public kicks off with free showings of Roma.
posted by progosk at 1:50 AM on December 19, 2018

Easily the best movie I've seen in the last year. Beautiful, beautiful cinematography. And I loved the soundscape--the sound of the birds, the airplane, the dogs barking that opens and closes the film. I also loved the shot where Cleo is going from room to room in the open plan house and the camera rotates and pans to follow her round and round. The New Year's party was so 1970s it was easy to forget it was filmed in the present day.

So little happens, and so much. The actors, including the children, were all so good, particularly Cleo and Theresa.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:03 AM on January 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

Oops, I means Cleo and Sofia, not Theresa.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:18 AM on January 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

This was so good, and reminded me of Children of Men in its birth themes. lot to chew on, surprised to see so little here.
posted by eustatic at 9:25 PM on January 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

Wow, I thought Gravity was massively overrated and Children of Men mildly overrated, and I did not like Cuarón, but this was so amazing. It helps that I loved the architecture of that house and my dad had bookshelves like those. The soaking in the naturalistic moments with families that are kind of poured into their houses reminded me of Tokyo Story. (I haven't seen Fellini's Roma.)

It felt like the screen could show anything it wanted. It was small and large at the same time, the pacing was so good ... the whole day of the birth, from finding a parking spot at the store to the hospital, just a ramp going straight up. I couldn't tell what was written on Fermín's shirt.

The only time I was knocked out of the movie was the dude singing during the fire.

The rich-o extended family party was so good otherwise, even just the feel of the convivial chaos, the drinks and dead animals, the giant fireplace, all the 70s luxury. But then also the dogs' heads in the (servants'?) room; the dudes all squaring off to fire guns at nothing over a little pond w/ jokes about the wife seizing land and the husband being like, "Ha ha I will shoot her then"; the rooftops with all the maids washing.. For all the class consciousness, though, it is only individualistic.
posted by fleacircus at 11:25 PM on January 15, 2019 [3 favorites]

I did wonder if the movies shown in the cinema actual old movies? The bit WW2 comedy was so perfectly insane looking.
posted by fleacircus at 11:26 PM on January 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

That's La grande vadrouille (released in Mexico as La fuga fantástica) with the legendary Louis de Funès. (The other movie shown is Marooned, a 1969 Gravity precursor...)
posted by progosk at 2:41 AM on January 18, 2019 [2 favorites]

Thanks progosk!
posted by fleacircus at 6:19 AM on January 18, 2019

IMDB points out that the real Cleo, Liboria Rodríguez (Libo), is still alive and still part of Alfonso Cuarón's family. She has made cameo appearances in some of Cuarón's films.

I loved the camera work and the sound design. Scenes shot from a sort of sideways viewpoint - and bold use of ambient sounds. There was a hell of a lot of work going on in the background to achieve that immersive narrative effect.

But most of all - I would like a shout out the the spectacularly prolific family dog - Borras - a stray who found himself cast for the movie. Dog poop is very important in Roma - and Borras sure provided!
posted by rongorongo at 12:24 AM on March 5, 2019

Cuarón's selection of Netflix as a backer for the film has indeed caused a lot of controversy. The film was excluded from the Cannes festival since it was from a streaming platform- and then included in the Venice film festival - all of which generated publicity for it (French law requires a huge 36 month window between a theatrical release and an online release in order for the title to not qualify as streaming).

I am guessing - on the basis of articles like this - that Cuarón's decision was influenced by massive difference in size, diversity and take-up rate of a Netflix distributed film versus one that started off in the conventional art-house circuit. There were probably some attractive financial and atrtistic aspects to that decision for him - but there were also risks for Netflix in backup a 2 hour plus black and white film with dialogue largely in Chilango.

But, ironically, I think Roma is a film that calls out to its audience to see it at the cinema: We might be able to watch it online almost on day 1 - but the reviewers and friends who recommend the title are going to emphasize the need to see it on the biggest screen and with the best sound-system possible. That is a dynamic that both Netflix and the movie theatre industry could help to promote for titles like this: Netflix can tell its subscribers where and when the film is available in the cinema and it can offer them discount codes to go and see it there.
posted by rongorongo at 1:20 AM on March 6, 2019 [3 favorites]

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